List of U.S. military vessels named after women

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper and the Military Sealift Command ship USNS Amelia Earhart conduct an underway replenishment in 2009. Both vessels are named after women.

Many vessels named after women have seen military service with the United States military. Most of these were named in civilian service and then subsequently commissioned into the United States Navy.

Few ships have been named after women by the military. Ships often are named after people who served in the Navy or who served in the government. Women have only recently been in such prominent positions, and therefore few have been so honored by the Navy.

See also, List of ships of the United States Navy.

Early ships[edit]

The schooner USS Hannah was commissioned in 1775.

The gunboat Lady Washington was commissioned in 1776 and was the first American armed ship named for a woman. She was a row galley, a small wooden river gunboat, built in 1776 by New York State to defend Hudson River, named in honor of Martha Washington. She remained active, under General Washington's command, through June 1777.

The sidewheel steamer Harriet Lane was launched in 1857. She was the first armed ship in service with the U.S. Navy to be named for a woman. Originally a Revenue Cutter, she was named for Harriet Lane, niece of President James Buchanan, who served as Buchanan's White House hostess. The ship was transferred to the Navy in 1858 and was later returned to Revenue Cutter Service. She was transferred again to Navy when the American Civil War began, 1861 and was captured by Confederates at Galveston, Texas Jan 1863. She was not returned to government service after end of war.

The sternwheel river steamer Bloomer was launched in 1856. Apparently this name was retained from a former name; she was named for feminist Amelia Bloomer. Bloomer was captured from Confederates in 1862 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1863–65.

Navy ships[edit]

USS Higbee in 1969

Continental Navy[edit]

The following is a list of ships named in honor of women which served in the Continental Navy:

United States Maritime Commission[edit]

  • Sacagawea (YT-241), 1942, was the first instance of a Maritime Commission's assignment of woman's name to naval vessel. She was named for Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman, who served as an interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The name already was assigned to a tugboat acquired by Maritime Commission for the Navy. Sacagawea ended up being retained by Maritime Commission and was never commissioned in the Navy.

United States Navy[edit]

The following is a list of ships in the United States Navy named after specific women:[1]

Note that even though the name Shenandoah is an American Indian word meaning "Daughter of the Stars," the navy airship USS Shenandoah (ZR-1) and other ships are named for the river Shenandoah in Virginia.

Other Navy ships with a woman's name[edit]

Many of these ships served in one or both of World War I, World War II, and some also during the interwar period, many with the ID or SP designation. Others served in the Stone Fleet, or were prizes during the Age of Sail. The names often came from a previous owner and all were commissioned in the Navy. Some vessels may have been named by the Navy, although it has not been determined which, if any, the Navy specifically named. (incomplete)


  1. ^ "US Navy Ships Named in Honor of Women". Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  2. ^ "Watseka". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command.